Weight Lost: How Tameika Gentles Loses 90 Pounds

AGE: 26

CITY: Brampton, Ont.

By The Numbers: 220 at my heaviest, and currently 130. Height: 5'2"

The Weight Gain: I'm the classic story of the girl that had been overweight her entire life. I grew up in a household where food was everything. My family loves to eat, and healthy alternatives to traditional meals were never really explored. In addition to a poor diet, I wasn't the most active child either. I was happy — just always overweight.

I’ve tried every fad diet in the book. Low carb, low fat and consuming too little calories. Oh, and the best was the "soup diet." In addition to this I've tried detoxes and weight loss pills. Nothing worked for me.

About five years ago at the age of 20 and after living on campus during university, my weight had reached its highest point. I gained 20 pounds and was a whopping 220 pounds. It was becoming increasingly hard to do simple tasks like climb stairs or speed walk to a class. Finally, I asked a friend if I had put on some weight and she responded with “yes, you have”. As a side note, since I was always that fun outgoing girl, no one ever commented on me being “overweight”. My friend’s answer came as a bit of a surprise. At the time, she had been one of my closest friends and I saw concern in her eyes. It was getting out of control and I knew it. It was from that point on that I seriously knew a change had to come and I, for the first time ever, made a life time commitment to myself that my life would change for the better.

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Lost It: Weight Loss Success Stories

The Plan Of Attack: Through a lot of hard work and dedication, I lost 90 pounds in less than one year (between nine to 10 months to be exact). No supplements, no trainers, no surgery — just pure hard work. I went in with a plan. I refused to fall for those quick fixes any more. With this mentality, I steadily lost two to three pounds per week. I educated myself profusely, slowly started revamping my diet, and got active. I started with my favourite sports, volleyball and squash. By doing this the right way, I have been able to keep the weight off five years later.

The Food Element: It took a while to develop a well-balanced diet, but I did. It was the only way I was able to see the weight come off and stay off. I started with the obvious – slowly cut out sweets, soda, junk food, pop, and I dine out less and consume smaller portions. This was not an easy process and I’m still learning today. It was gradual and took time, but I was patient through it all and have now developed a lifestyle that works for me.

I didn't "diet", instead I ensured I had a balanced diet. For me, there is a difference. I didn't cut many things out cold turkey, but instead I learned to balance out poor choices out in my day/week/month using cheat meals.

The Exercise Factor: I've always had a gym membership, but never used it. I was always nervous to go to the gym so I started with sports. I'm a competitive person so this worked for me. Once I got the courage, I then started attending fitness classes at my university gym. Classes were a great way to teach me the fundamentals. When I developed the willpower to go to the gym on my own, I started with walking on the treadmill and basic weight training exercises. Overtime, the intensity continued to increase and I developed routines that worked for me.

The Current Day-To-Day: I’m very active. I sit at a desk all day so I move around whenever possible. Outside of the gym, I also walk to and from work (40 minutes per day) and take the stairs to my condo a few times per week (14 flights). In the summer, I’ll begin running outside and walking a lot more.

I've maintained my weight over the last five years by making this a livable and sustainable lifestyle. I approached my journey with this mentality: Going to the gym is not an option, it's as crucial to me as getting enough sleep or going to work. I treat my approach to clean eating in the same way. If I have junk, it's a treat and only once in a while. Eating poorly is no longer the norm.

For those who are beginning their journey, who have fallen off their journey, or are well on their way, I have one piece of advice: Do this for you. We have one life to live and one body to live in. We are privileged to live in a society where we hold the power and have the resources to stay healthy. Don’t wait until it’s too late, let's take advantage of what's in our control today.

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